Sketching a Map of the Storylets Design Space

  • Max KreminskiEmail author
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11318)


Linear and branching narrative structures are widespread in games, but limited in their dynamism and expressiveness. We consider the alternative storylets model of interactive narrative content, in which a game’s narrative is assembled from a database of discrete, reorderable narrative “chunks” or “modules” known as storylets. This paper represents a first attempt to map out the design space of storylet-based narrative systems in games. We define the common elements of storylet-based systems; categorize such systems along several distinct dimensions; and survey implementations of such systems in existing games.


Interactive narrative design Procedural narrative 


  1. 1.
    Alliot, F.: The casual (but regal) swipe: creating game mechanics in Reigns. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  2. 2.
    Failbetter Games: Fallen London. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  3. 3.
    Failbetter Games: StoryNexus. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  4. 4.
    Kennedy, A.: Echo Bazaar narrative structures, Part two. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  5. 5.
    Kreminski, M.: Epitaph. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  6. 6.
    Kreminski, M.: History generation in Epitaph. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  7. 7.
    Kreminski, M.: Starfreighter. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  8. 8.
    Mateas, M., Stern, A.: Façade. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  9. 9.
    Mateas, M., Stern, A.: Structuring content in the Façade interactive drama architecture. In: Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mateas, M.: Introduction to content selection architectures (unpublished lecture slides)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mateas, M.: More content selection architectures (unpublished lecture slides)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nerial: Reigns. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  13. 13.
    Reed, A.A.: Changeful tales: design-driven approaches toward more expressive storygames. Diss, UC Santa Cruz (2017)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Reed, A.A., Garbe, J.: The Ice-Bound Concordance. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  15. 15.
    Samuel, B., et al.: Leveraging procedural narrative and gameplay to address controversial topics. In: International Conference on Computational Creativity (2017)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sharp, D.: Story vs. game: the battle of interactive fiction. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  17. 17.
    Sharp, D.: The King of Chicago. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  18. 18.
    Short, E.: Beyond branching: quality-based, salience-based, and waypoint narrative structures. Accessed 25 Jul 2018
  19. 19.
    Short, E.: Glass. Accessed 25 Jul 2018

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UC Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations